Best undergraduate university for VC/PE, Entrepreneurship, or Product Management

Hi,

I am a high school senior who was admitted to several universities. My top choices are the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley (College of Letters), Carnegie Mellon University (Information Systems program), and Georgia Tech (College of Computing).

I will probably pursue Computer Science at university or Computer Science with a combination of Economics/Business. My goal is not to really work in FAANG but ideally launch a startup (going into Entrepreneurship). Otherwise, I would be interested in going into PE/VC or working in Investment Management firms with a specific technology focus. I will probably end up working in the US or the UK in the long run, but I will definitely spend at least 3-5 years working in the US. I'm not worried about parties and that sort of stuff.

Does anyone have advice on how to pick between these universities given the career path/prestige/other factors? I think at this point, rankings aren't going to help narrow things down since all these universities are highly ranked. I would greatly appreciate all your advice.

rankings

Thanks!

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Comments (22)

Apr 12, 2021 - 5:58am

People say that going to a big public university can be bad for recruiting. Is that true and should I worry about that? If I should, would you say that Cal > CMU > Chicago > GT for tech-focused PE/VC?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2021 - 11:15am

If cost isn't a factor, then Cal > CMU > GT > Chicago. Typically, Chicago would be higher, but it doesnt make sense given your interests.

Apr 13, 2021 - 4:05pm

Charles2002

1) Berkeley 

2) UChicago 

Agree. And living in Cali seems better than Chicago.

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  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Apr 15, 2021 - 11:36am

Berkeley EECS grad here... Berkeley hands down. Best CS/EECS program (they're the same thing tbh) by far out of these options, and arguably in the country (know kids who took Berkeley EECS over MIT, Caltech, etc.) Berkeley is one of the best schools for entrepreneurship and is right next to the valley and there are kids who go into PE/VC out of undergrad. Plenty of PMs too

Apr 15, 2021 - 12:12pm

I got into Berkeley Letters and Sciences instead of EECS. That means getting a 3.30 in CS 61A, CS 61B, and CS 70. I'm not as worried about 61A and 61B as I am about 70 - Discrete Math and Probability Theory.

Does the fact that I would be in LSCS change anything? Also, I've heard that Chicago is becoming a bigger target school for tech, but I am not sure about the credibility of that. Compared to the population of UC Berkeley, are the post-graduation outcomes as product managers significant?

Most Helpful
Apr 15, 2021 - 12:39pm

Go to the best school for CS. You can't teach Entrepreneurship. I dropped out of college to start my business. I took entrepreneurship classes. They're bullshit. You have to learn on your own and with a mentor.

If you're looking to get into VC/PE, get good at finding startups, meeting the founders, and connecting them to as many VC/PE firms as you can. They will give you some capital with the firm and in the space if a firm ends up funding that company.

Do all your structured learning in college. Building good companies is something you just have to do, it can't be taught. You have to struggle, adapt, and make decisions that have nothing to do with what you learn about in a classroom.

Apr 22, 2021 - 7:08am

Chief Oopsie Officer

Go to the best school for CS. You can't teach Entrepreneurship. I dropped out of college to start my business. I took entrepreneurship classes. They're bullshit. You have to learn on your own and with a mentor.

If you're looking to get into VC/PE, get good at finding startups, meeting the founders, and connecting them to as many VC/PE firms as you can. They will give you some capital with the firm and in the space if a firm ends up funding that company.

Do all your structured learning in college. Building good companies is something you just have to do, it can't be taught. You have to struggle, adapt, and make decisions that have nothing to do with what you learn about in a classroom.

I so much agree with your statement "You can't teach entrepreneurship." As more and more colleges are establishing curriculum, I shake my head. It's like saying, "I want to be an entrepreneur so I applied for a government grant." Entrepreneurship is about an overall attitude and risk taking mindset. You need a certain personality and intestinal fortitude to launch. You can't be looking for the guidebook of SOPs, you have to create it. That's why it's so rewarding and potentially lucrative. Understand that the vast majority fail multiple times. The real entrepreneurs are the ones who keep at it. They don't have the attitude of "I'll give it a shot for 6 months or 6 yrs  and see how it goes." There's no seeing how it goes. It goes. The question is do you go and create and evolve.

Good to have some basic foundational business classes that cover structure, entities, law/ contracts but you can find that all online pretty easily. I would agree that you should focus college on gaining some tech skills based on your interests.

Also, being an entrepreneur shouldn't limit you to certain industries. The guy/gal that owns 20 McD's is an entrepreneur. I assure you they are invested and involved in many other things. It's an attitude and once you're involved and successful (cashflow) you'll learn to look at other opportunities though a different lens and figure out how to create deals to get things done. JVs, licensing agreements, traditional structures, etc. The industry is essentially irrelevant. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 15, 2021 - 5:05pm

Current Student at UC Berkeley:

I would say for your interests ... Berkeley > CMU > UChicago > Gtech 

You cannot beat the access to resources, network and proximity to Silicon valley. Plenty of students at Berkeley are interning during the semester at companies like Amazon, Tesla, Google ..etc. L&S cs is not difficult to declare as long as you put some effort in the intro classes (61AB 70) and opportunities are the essentially the same as EECS. Check out SCET - tons of classes on entrepreneurship and product management. While agree that no class can prepare you for building a startup and failure, Berkeley does provide a lot of mentorship and networking opportunities with VCs

Some great programs available for Berkeley Students include Accel Scholars, PearVC Fellows, Arrow Capital, House Fund as well as DRF, RDV, Contrary..etc. 

** A major drawback to attending Cal is that the school is massive and opportunities are very competitive. You will not get the sort of small class sizes and 1:1 treatment at a smaller school like UChicago or CMU. You have to be a self-starter, take initiative and really craft your own journey through college (very little hand-holding here) and these are all important skills to have if you want to be a founder. 

CMU places well in the tech-industry (Google especially), but location matters. Pittsburgh does not have a lot of entrepreneurial resources. Similarly, UChicago Polsky is a phenomenal hub for entrepreneurship but it's not the same as Silicon Valley. UChicago places most students in IB roles in either Chicago or NYC and has a very theoretical approach to computer science while Berkeley is applied. 

Hope this helps and feel free to PM me. 

Apr 22, 2021 - 6:38am

Thank you so much for your advice!

I'm mostly just picking between Berkeley and Chicago now. Do you know if Berkeley has the same kind of quant/hedge fund pipeline that UChicago has?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 22, 2021 - 10:20am

Mostly Berkeley EECS / MET students join HFs as either Traders, SWE or Quants. I've seen many place into companies like Bridgewater (investment logic), Point72 Academy (Finance-oriented), and Citadel and a few at Jane Street / Two Sigma. Obviously, HF/Quant roles are very difficult to come by and after a certain level of university pedigree its mostly dependent on your problem-solving skills and general raw intelligence. 

Look at LinkedIn and it will help you gage where students place after college

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